This article is from the 14 October 2007 issue of “The Item”, the Sumter, SC newspaper. It will be interesting to see what this means for those of us who monitor both the 169th Fighter Wing and the 20th Fighter Wing.
McEntire, Shaw sign initiative
‘Momentous occasion’ strengthens bases’ ties
By JOE PERRY
Item Staff Writer
A brief Saturday afternoon ceremony at McEntire Joint National Guard Base served to further the relationship between Shaw Air Force Base and its nearby counterpart as commanders from both bases signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
The initiative directs the operation and administration of the Active Associate unit now operating at McEntire and is aimed at utilizing the experience of Air National Guard men and women to foster training and development of Air Force pilots and maintenance specialists. The unit also gives the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire bolstered manpower in fully realizing its Air Expeditionary Force.
With a Swamp Fox F-16 looming in the corner of the main hangar, Col. Keith Coln, commander of the 169th Fighter Wing, noted the memorandum was a “momentous occasion” and signified the strengthening relationship between the bases.
“We’re going to pursue a common mission,” Coln said, “we protect the same Constitution. And whether you fly in my wing, or I fly in your wing, together we’re going to achieve. Together we’re going to set new goals, we’re going to make new accomplishments, and we’re going to achieve what our leaders want us to achieve for our national security objectives and to protect our country in this Global War on Terror that we’re engaged in today.”
To protect the country, he said, each base has to count on one another.
Col. James N. Post III, commander of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw, said there are only 25 miles between the bases, “but we’ve been separated by those 25 miles up until today.”
Post said the day marked the beginning of “what I know will be a long-term relationship between the 20th Fighter Wing and the 169th.”
As the detachments continue to grow, he said, they will both realize “what Total Force really means,” and the opportunity it affords both bases to “build a synergy that can remain second to none.”
“We’re all part of the same U.S. Air Force,” he said, built upon the same foundation with the same core values of integrity, excellence and service above self.
“We’ll continue to grow stronger and grow together,” Post said, thanking everyone for the opportunity, “and for what you mean for our Air Force and the National Guard and for what you’ll do for these folks here at the 20th Fighter Wing on active duty.”
Coln then told his counterparts they were now part of the Swamp Fox family.
“You’ll always be Swamp Foxes,” he said, “no matter where you go.”
Coln said after the ceremony that McEntire — known as Congaree Air Base until a name change in 1961 — celebrated its 60th anniversary last year.
Contact Staff Writer Joe Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 774-1272.